Rebuild--rear-ended Uhaul CT13 - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2015, 11:18 PM   #61
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Name: Dave
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Gary, if it doesn't pop out easily let the air out of the tire, it may help. How are you planning to attach it to your spare?
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:30 AM   #62
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Dave... I'd thought of the air in tire thing too; always nice to have an idea confirmed by others, though. I went out last night to check on things; the f/g was still somewhat tacky, but I could peel up some of the excess resin that had oozed over the tape at the base... without lifting the tape... so I don't think it's going to be too badly stuck.

I figure to basically cut a round hole in the outer skin [and maybe a bit of the inner skin, near the top of the dish], and then bond this dish/recess to the surrounding skin with more f/g and resin. With the whole dish used, I figure the spare can sit on the bottom of the vertical dish [which in turn will be supported by a brace between bumper and that square side-to-side tube I added]... so it only needs a firm enough mount/bolt to hold it vertical... not "suspend" it. I figured to use a threaded rod and disc like are in the trunks of lots of cars... spin it up snug, and maybe drill a hole in the rod for a safety clip, just in case.

Height-wise, the bottom of the spare should be even with the bottom of the camper frame... minimizing whatever amount intrudes on interior space above the back seat... also low-down, center-of-gravity-wise, though that's probably not a real big deal. 'Also thinking that the recess of the spare being exposed to the rear would make a good spot to mount the license plate. Will see fairly soon how all that shakes out.................. Gary
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:53 AM   #63
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Name: Melissa
Trailer: U Haul
Florida
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beautiful work, gary!
when you cast this, I think a bit of sagging in the top would make it interesting... not generic... flat faced... boring. i see it formed to fit... swelled and dipped... curvy... the ringed appearance (following ya'll down the highway in my head) would give it real style! pizzazz!
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:53 AM   #64
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Iowa
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Okay!... Casting removed from makeshift form this morning! Wrapping the plastic with tape maybe wasn't the best idea... something in the resin softened the adhesive part of the tape, so that it only "let go" with patient persuading, whereas the plastic film pulled away from the fiberglass pretty cleanly.

I apparently confused some of you by calling this a "continental" spare approach. My bad. I think continental spares in the old days at least sometimes had both a recess formed in the rear of the body AND a cover... I was just going for the recess part of the concept, figuring to nestle the spare into it so it didn't project to the rear, but leaving it somewhat exposed. I've tried to show that in the attached pics, with the spare sitting in my new recess casting, on top of a floor jack, so that it's at the height I want. But in the photo it's behind the bumper, whereas it will end up recessed into the back wall of the camper, and in front of the bumper. I hope that makes sense.

My plan at this point is to have a spring-loaded, flip-up license plate holder mounted in the recess of the spare, with a plug-in connection for the license plate light. If I need the spare, I flip up the license plate, unplug the cord, spin off the mounting nut/disc, and remove license holder and spare. Normal road tire might not fit in the holder--we'll see. [I just designed the form around the space-saver spare... the real tire can be tossed in the tow vehicle for the time it takes to get to town and replace or repair it.]

All for now. Back to work.............. Gary
Attached Thumbnails
15-0713-spareWell-01.jpg   15-0713-spareWell-02a.jpg  

15-0713-spareWell-02b.jpg  
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:35 PM   #65
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A space saver tire mold???? Was this a test run? At least you know how the tape reacted to resin now.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:34 PM   #66
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No, Dave... that's what my camper came with. Like most cars, any more, so I didn't consider it that odd a thing. Seems like folks on the U-Haul Facebook side of things report it being a considerable nuisance coming up with just a rim from the dealers... and not much, if anything, that has the same bolt pattern and offset, if going non-U-Haul. So I just figured to run what I have.

I hope that isn't considered flat-out crazy... but I'm willing to listen, if those with more experience with these little campers than I have want to try and change my mind.
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:35 PM   #67
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You might be getting a few customers as we Uhaul owners follow this rebuild, Gary. We have our spare there too but not with a permanent holder like you are creating.

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Old 07-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #68
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Brief update.
Started fitting spare tire pocket this afternoon... opening cut in back-panel, and pocket taped-n-propped in place. Only the tire slipped in at this point, as I'm cleaning up and painting the rim. Still some tweaking to do, but looks like it's do-able. [I guess it better be--now that I've cut a rather large hole in the back of the camper!]
All for now............ Gary
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15-0717-mockup-01a.jpg  
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:54 PM   #69
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Had a change of plans, vacation-wise, so instead of sucking up cool, dry air in Colorado, I've spent a fair bit of the last couple days working on the spare recess/holder.

Fine-tuned the opening in the back wall... re-shaped the spare well itself to aid in the spare sliding in... put in spacers on the bumper brackets [middle 2] to bow it out a bit for extra clearance... trimmed the "flash" from the rear edges of the recess, and added a reinforcing band around the bottom half of the opening [3 narrow bands/layers of matte]; it's now about .25" thick at the edge, so hopefully won't be vulnerable to bumps n nicks.

And then sanded the edges of the opening in the camper shell, and sanded the perimeter of the recess piece... taped in place... and glued in from the inside with 3-4 layers of matte n resin. [I'll add a reinforcing "fillet" between recess and camper shell on the outside later--basically, on the lower half, where it extends rearward of the shell.]

Really looking forward to this stiffening up the rear shell... patching the remaining cracks in it should be easier now.
All for now.............. Gary
Attached Thumbnails
15-0722-spareExt-02.jpg   15-0722-spareExt-03.jpg  

15-0722-spareInt-01.JPG   15-0722-spareInt-02.jpg  

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Old 07-22-2015, 08:19 PM   #70
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Name: Dave
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California
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Better and better Gary. Don't know if you said or I missed it but what you planning on using for an outer cover? Now that you're the fiberglass expert have you thought of making up a FG cover?
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:05 AM   #71
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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I'm quite willing to let "fiberglass Dave" White retain any and all claims to fiberglass expert. His long post was a great encouragement to tackle all this before I ever began. It does get easier though, with practice... and while I'm still not all that fond of working with it, the practice is making me less and less reluctant. [returning to the patching of cracks now is going to seem very straight-forward]

I've changed my mind a couple of times on what to do to further finish off the exterior of the spare recess. Still kind of like the idea of a license plate mounting inside the spare itself..... or maybe a plain wheel cover with the license plate slightly recessed into it. [not sure a wheel cover would grip the "backside" of the steel rim properly] Or, just create a cover for the whole spare recess--that'd keep the sun & dust off things better, of course.

I'll wait, and mull that over, while I return to repairing cracks n breaks.
Gary
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15-0722-spareExt-04.jpg  
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:22 PM   #72
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Trailer: UHaul CT13
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Another day... a bunch more cracks/breaks mended. [Since this week was planned to be spent in CO, I'm relatively guilt-free working on the camper for much of the week. If not on vacation, at least doing vacation-oriented work!] Three pics attached:

[1] My Rube-Goldberg-style prepping. Lots of tape--stretched as it was stuck down, to help draw the pieces back together. And where the contours weren't right still, some boards clamped to the bumper bracket to hold wooden blocks in place to press the back-panel inwards a bit more.

[2] Before grinding the interior side of the breaks, I draped paint-prep plastic film to keep the fine f/g dust out of the front 1/2 of camper... and moved the battery box out of the way [but kept the wires connect in 2 groups as they were on the side of the box]... and wrapped the converter/controller in plastic. Then made the dust fly!

[3] And then applied f/g matte n resin to the left rear corner... 3-4 layers. This was the most-broken-up side of the damaged back-panel, so feels like distinct progress. Wrapped up before lunch... probably tackle the opposite side this afternoon............... Gary
Attached Thumbnails
15-0724-RRinterrPatches-00a.JPG   15-0724-RRinterrPatches-00b.JPG  

15-0724-RRinterrPatches-01.JPG  
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:27 AM   #73
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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One more piece of the puzzle. Patched cracks/breaks on the other half of the back-panel Friday evening... still need to re-glue the center seam between window and spare tire recess, and a few other misc cracks, but almost done with the patching of the inside surface of the outside panel. Decided to use what little time I had Saturday to fabricate the hardware for securing the spare in the recess... the tire sits on the bottom of the recess, so just needs to be kept stable n secure [it isn't "suspended" by this bolt-thingamajob]. 4 Pics attached:

[1] Sawed head off metric bolt & brazed a pivot-rod to the end of the bolt, and then sandwiched this pivot-rod between 2 bits of scrap steel... the flat piece will glue to the inside face of the spare recess, with the bolt sticking through the f/g to the rear.

[2] Tack-welded the 2 plates together and glued the assembly to the f/g with automotive seam-sealant.

[3] Fitted the spare, and tightened up the spare with the hold-down disc from some old Toyota trunk-mount.

[4] Overall view of the trailer rear... spare firmly in place with 1.5" or so between it and the bumper... back panel "structurally sound" once again, though some ways from being pretty just yet.

All for now.............. Gary
Attached Thumbnails
15-0725-04a.JPG   15-0725-04b.jpg  

15-0725-04c.JPG   15-0725-04d.JPG  

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Old 08-13-2015, 12:52 PM   #74
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Brief detour from structural work to paint mixing. No formulas that I know of to match the color of gelcoat in U-Haul campers. So took a piece from the interior to a local paint supplier... had it scanned, which came up with a generic paint mix... saw a paint chip in their generic book which also looked close... had 8 ounces of each mixed in acrylic enamel. [much like the machinery enamel you might get at a tractor supply store]
Neither seemed close enough, but mixed equal parts together, and tried that yesterday... not bad!
Fairly inexpensive paint, at least by auto paint standards... ca $115/gal.
1st pic shows interior scrap clamped to scrap but from the back of my camper where the spare recess now is... the larger scrap was painted up to the edge of the factory vinyl. And then this morning I removed some of the vinyl and buffed the original gelcoat. Acceptably close for my purposes... if this helps anyone else trying to do some touch up, well, great.
Pics 2 & 3 are from the paint cans, showing color code from Dupont's Spectramaster catalog, and formulas for the sample 8 ounces. [note: formulas are "cumulative"]
For what it's worth...................... Gary
Attached Thumbnails
15-0813-01b-2.jpg   15-0813-02a-2.jpg  

15-0813-02b-2.jpg  
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:27 PM   #75
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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10 days passed, time to get to repairing again...

This afternoon, decided to mend the broken-apart vertical seam between the spare tire recess and the bottom of the back glass. This had been glued together at the factory with some dusty-pink adhesive, and then lightly spanned on the inside with some fiberglass cloth/resin. In the accident, the glue cracked/sheared, and the light fiberglass band across it tore in half.

I ground out any torn-up bits of the fiberglass band, and ground out broken bits of the pinkish adhesive first. Cut strips of matte in widths from 1" to 4" wide. Then mixed resin & catalyst, and poured about 1 oz of it into a separate cup, and added the "grinding dust" back into it until it was fairly thick. Paddled this thickened goop into the crevice left from my earlier grinding until it was fairly level with the interior skin, and quickly added the 1" wide strip to it... followed by 2" & 3" & 4" strips of matte. Voila!... no more broken back-seam.

Enough "work" for a Sunday afternoon............ Gary
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15-0823-Backseam-01!.JPG  
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:04 AM   #76
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Trails West Campster, CampStar, Uhaul, Fiberstream
Washington
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What I like about you and your project is your fearless attitude. You started out with the smaller stuff, learned from it and moved up to custom work. Fiberglass is a great medium and you have learned well. Congrats to you....Fiberglass Dave
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:45 AM   #77
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Dave,
Thanks so much for the kind words.... your own lengthy post on working with fiberglass was a great encouragement to me to go ahead and dive in.
Don't know as I'm "fearless" so much as blissfully ignorant and generally inventive........ so, I enter into something like this with some knowledge, thanks to folks like yourself, and then improvise/make-do as I go along. [Seems to work out okay most of the time.]
Gary
p.s. I guess having spent 40 years improvising and making-do has probably helped some, too.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:46 PM   #78
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Trailer: Bigfoot
CA
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This repair is pretty awesome! In looking at the original wreck, it was hard to believe it could come back to life. A stick trailer would definitely have been totaled -- beyond repair. And yet, gain some fiberglassing skills coupled with Merkin ingenuity, and resurrection ensues.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:15 AM   #79
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Thanks--encouraging words.

Probably a good summary, too...... gaining some fiberglass skills, through just studying a bit and then jumping in....... and then just problem-solving [good 'ol 'Merican ingenuity] as you go. Fiberglass work seems to respond to that approach pretty well--a fairly forgiving and learner-friendly medium compared to welding-and-metal-shaping, for instance.

Having worked in auto body shops for the last 20 years helped a lot, in hindsight, too..... in finding the nerve to jump in. So long as a vehicle has enough retail or sentimental value, it can be resurrected from a pretty hard hit and still be roadworthy & safe. So, I looked at this project through somewhat different eyes than a lot of folks would.

But even with that, the encouragement of folks on this forum and the U-Haul Facebook page has meant a lot........... Gary
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:39 AM   #80
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Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
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I learned how to do FG repairs on snowmobile engine cowls back in the '80s. I was a teenager with a shredded cowl after a belt explosion. Fixing it involved learning all the good stuff about layup and so on in combination with learning about skim coats of filler, scuff sanding, and glazing putty...

People came out of the woodwork when they found out I knew how to patch fiberglass. It kept me in summer fun money the rest of the way through high school. The dirty secret is that it's easier to work in than metal if you know what you're doing...
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